The National Bilibid Prison (NBP) has recruited 35 officers from the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) to join its workforce, as part of its substitution of 700 guards who were recently relieved from duty in its Maximum Security Compound (MSC).
They are senior and newly-hired personnel who were ordered by Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. to serve among 300 substitute correctional officers after he relieved 700 prison guards due to reports of on-duty misconduct.
IPPF information officer CTO II Levi Evangelista stated that management believes the performance of their personnel in capturing escapees under the fugitive recovery team and dealing with drug-related issues has contributed to the establishment of their credibility and the prison farm.
“It’s a significant contribution for us, having their personnel here. The order for them to report was on April 11. On the other hand, it also poses a reduction in our workforce, but this is not new to us,” he said.
According to him, the deployment of 35 prison officers to the NBP does not pose any security risk in safeguarding the persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) housed within the prison’s four sub-colonies. Although the reduction in personnel does have an impact, he emphasized that it can still be managed effectively in the prison’s daily operations.
Some of the relieved personnel from NBP will also be sent to IPPF as additional workforce after undergoing a refresher course. The management is confident that there will be no conflict encountered once these security officers are transferred to IPPF.
“They will undergo a refresher course but will not be assigned to guard the maximum compound. They will be deployed to other prisons and penal farms, including Iwahig,” he said.
“When it comes to those coming to us, our superintendent is from here, which is a big factor when it comes to disciplining personnel. We do not foresee any problems with disciplining personnel coming from NBP,” he added.
IPPF does not have a specific figure yet on how many personnel will be deployed to the penal prison, but the deployment will be staggered this year. The additional manpower will also help IPPF in managing additional PDLs to be transferred from NBP as part of the decongestion program.
Evangelista said that Catapang also inspected the dormitories during his visit on April 8 at IPPF. The PDLs will come from the medium and minimum security compounds of NBP.
“We do not have a number yet for how many will be sent to us. What we are currently focusing on is ensuring that the dormitories they will be housed in are safe and well-maintained,” he said.
The management hopes for the immediate completion of the ongoing construction of additional dormitories to accommodate the incoming number of PDLs. IPPF is currently securing around 2,500 PDLs from the sub-colonies of Iwahig, Sta. Lucia, Montible, and Inagawan.
Meanwhile, the penal prison is also expecting additional manpower from the ongoing hiring process of additional correctional officers. However, Evangelista is uncertain if this year’s applicants will immediately join IPPF before the end of 2023, as they need to undergo a series of examinations and training.